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Morning Marquee: Chicago Cubs head south to visit former rival

Sep 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) throws against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) throws against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs dropped two of three to the Milwaukee Brewers to begin their road trip. Now, they’ll head down south to take on the Houston Astros. A former member of the National League Central division.

In fact, these two teams have not played each other in some time. Back in 1994, the Central consisted of the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Milwaukee would join the division in 1998 after spending time in the American League’s East and Central. Safe to say that Milwaukee hasn’t had much success unlike the rest of the bunch but they had their moments.

Now, the Astros left the Central having the second-most division titles behind the Cardinals who lead the way with 10. Chicago is on their way to winning their fourth, tying the Astros who moved to the American League West after the 2012 campaign.

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And while they were on the move, both the Cubs and Astros were grooming a handful of talent that would soon blossom. These two powerhouses possess some of the best talents in the league.

Names such as Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler, Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa. Correa and Bryant emerged as Rookie of the Year recipients while Keuchel and Arrieta brought home Cy Young awards.

In addition, Joe Maddon surged past Terry Collins for N.L. Manager of the Year. It’s a shame that A.J. Hinch was unable to do the same. Great manager who took the American League by storm in 2015.

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Tonight, southpaw Jon Lester will take the bump for the visiting Cubs who are looking to end a two-game slump. Their offense has been somewhat silent aside from Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo has swatted multiple home runs in his previous two games.

Just think, he nearly sat out in the series finale at Miller Park. Instead, he took Matt Garza deep and nearly tied things up in the ninth inning. Sadly, he was robbed on a beautiful defensive play by Keon Broxton.

As a result, the Cubs dropped the series finale to the Brewers. Infielder Jonathan Villar, former Astro, accounted for both runs scored. Villar went deep twice — his third home run of the season.

Next: Will the Cubs carry their success into October?

Maybe, this time around, Chicago’s offense will provide Lester with some run support since they will be using the designated hitter’s slot. Either Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, or Jorge Soler could fill in that spot over the weekend.

Most of all, this pitching staff is going to need to bring their very best.  Also, limit the errors to none if they are capable of doing so. Errors have come back to bite this team in the past, so Russell and this infield need to relax.

With that being said, let’s great ready for some baseball. A series that might come down to the later innings depending on how the starters perform.

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